The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet 
Boone (left) and Jamie (right) Welliever are two of
the five generations of Wellievers who played for the
American Legion team in Crawfordsville.
The Paper file photo by Lori Poteet
Boone (left) and Jamie (right) Welliever are two of the five generations of Wellievers who played for the American Legion team in Crawfordsville.

It is not often that you see five generations playing for the same baseball organization, especially these days. However, the Welliever family has seen just that with American Legion baseball in Crawfordsville.

From Ralph “Pop” Welliever coaching in the 1950s to his great grandson, Boone, playing in 2015, the Wellievers are known for their baseball legacy.

Dan Welliever knows the changes that have taken place not only in baseball in Montgomery County, but also in wrestling.

Dan played four years of Legion baseball from 1953 to 1956. As a matter of fact, he played a season while still playing junior varsity at Crawfordsville.

He played for the legendary John Bowerman his first year.

John was known around the Midwest for the Alamo baseball camp. Many campers came to take part in either a week long session, or a four-day, three-night camp that was very successful at that time.

In 1954, his father, Ralph “Pop” Welliever, took over the reins of the program. He would coach Dan from 1954 to 1956 and took a two year hiatus before coming back to coach, John, from 1959 to 1960.

Legion ball was quite different back in the ‘50’s. Many of their games were against the local high schools, such as Alamo, Darlington, Waynetown and Ladoga. Many of the high schools played baseball in the summer, rather than the spring. Many of the guys on the Legion team were also on their high school teams. Their home field was the Milligan Park field, now known as Baldwin.

Dan attended Indiana Central, now the University of Indianapolis, and played baseball and wrestled, where they won their conference in baseball his senior season.

He was also a wrestler at Central. He was an All-American his sophomore and senior year in the 123 pound weight class. He was undefeated that senior season where he lost in the championship match on a false start by his opponent that was not called giving him the win.

Dan coached sons Rhett and Jamie during their time as Legion players.

Rhett played one year for Ed Clifton in 1978, before Dan took over in ‘79. One of Dan’s favorite memories involved the game where his Legion team faced Southmont in a double header. Rhett pitched the second game for South throwing 14 innings that day.

One of the most intriguing plays happened on the last out. With one out in the inning, a fly ball was hit to center, where Jimmy Stull, playing for South, made the catch. Mike Williams, a South player playing for the Legion, tagged up from third. Stull threw a strike to Barry Lewis, another South player, for the third out of the inning.

“Four South guys involved in a non-traditional double play,” he said.

Rhett was also a stand out football player, as he earned second team All-State as a defensive back his senior year.

Jamie played baseball and wrestled while at Southmont. He played four years of Legion ball, three for his dad. In one of his last games, he hit three home runs in the Sectional game at Lebanon.

For wrestling, he also earned a third place finish in the state at Southmont his junior year. He lost his semi-final match by one-point, due to a near fall. He would see success in college advancing to the National meet while at Wabash.

Dan coached wrestling at Crawfordsville for 31 years, the last 12 as the head coach. He coached against Jamie while at Crawfordsville, both as a wrestler and coach.

When asked about his favorite baseball memory, Dan mentioned calling the game on I-High of his son-in-law, John Froedge’s, first State Championship in 2008, and that 14-inning marathon Rhett pitched against the Legion team.

His favorite wrestling memory was Crawfordsville’s last state wrestling champion in 1985, Doug Haslam, at 126 pounds. He also recalled Rex Ryker’s State Championship in 1964 in the 95 pound weight class. Of course, Jamie’s run his junior year, was his favorite.

With Ralph “Pop” Welliever, Dan, Rhett, Jamie, and Boone, there have been five generations playing the game they love for one team, a great accomplishment for any family.

You don’t have to look far for the next set of Welliever’s looking to make their name in coaching and playing.

Boone will be a junior at Southmont where he wrestles, plays football and baseball. His sister, Rachel was part of the 2014 State Champion softball team for the Mounties. Rachel’s cousin, Britney Carpenter, was the coach of that team, and now is the head softball coach at Crawfordsville. Of course John Froedge, Crawfordsville’s baseball coach, is his son-in-law, and Brandon, an assistant on the staff, is one of Dan’s grandson’s.